Saturday, October 25, 2014
Text Size

If I suspect that a member of my family is having mental health problems, what can I do ?

You may want to first consult with his/her family doctor, and then encourage your family member to meet with their family doctor for a medical examination. If necessary, the doctor will refer your family member for a psychiatric assessment.

You can also call our Mental Health Intake Workers for further advice and consultation.

What kind of financial assistance can I get if I cannot work due to mental illness?

You may be eligible for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and/ or Canada Pension Plan for Disability (CPP) if you were working and contributing to the CPP program prior to your illness.

Some immediate financial help such as Ontario Works (previously known as General Welfare Assistance) or the sick benefit under Employment Insurance may be of help as well.

For those who are not eligible for government financial assistance but need to pay for their drug expenses can consider applying to the Trillium Drug Program (Ontario Government) to cover the drug costs.

Call our Intake Workers for further information.

I was laid off recently and I feel very depressed. I see no hope in life. What kind of help can I get from Hong Fook ?

It is not easy to go through difficult life changes by yourself. It helps a lot by talking it out to a professional to reduce the stress as well as to find out some practical direction. Please call our intake workers for an assessment.

We can connect you with psychiatric help if needed, provide you with supportive counselling, guide and assist you to apply for government financial assistance if you are eligible, or you can join in one or more of our support groups.

My son is charged by the police as he threatened to harm his girlfriend at the time when he was mentally unstable. Will they put him in jail? I cannot afford to hire a lawyer for him, how can I help him ?

Usually, when the police lay charges, they will apprehend your son and send him to jail. Your son may be bailed out by family members to wait for the trial. At each Criminal Court House, there is an office of Mental Health Court Support Program.

You can contact the Mental Health Court Support Worker there to assist your son to go through the legal proceeding including getting assistance from the counsel on duty at the court if your son has not yet retained a lawyer; and, applying for the Legal Aid Certificate, which helps to pay the lawyer's fee.

The police may decide not press charges against your son if their understanding is that your son is mentally unstable.

They may only apprehend him (that is, take him into their custody) and bring your son to the hospital for an assessment. In this case, there is not a legal proceeding.

My daughter has been having schizophrenia for over 10 years and does not go out from the house except for visiting the family doctor. Can you take her out to join some activities ?

The Mental Health Act respects the rights of individual, so we cannot force her to join our activities if she does not want to.

However, it may be easier to motivate her through someone she trusts or with incentives that she is interested in. You may want to discuss this with her family doctor or to talk to our intake workers to explore what may be some of the incentives

If the doctor prescribes medication for my mental illness, does it mean that I will have to take it for the rest of my life ?

Medication is prescribed on an individual basis depending on your condition. The medication is to help you maintain your mental health. For more information about the medication such as how, much you should take, how often, for how long, and the side effects of the medication, please be sure to ask your doctor.

I don't feel good after taking some new pills prescribed by my psychiatrist. Should I stop them ?

Usually, when taking new medication, your body needs about 7 to 10 days to adjust. Many people do not feel well during this period. You should not stop taking your medication unless there is severe reaction. In this case, consult your psychiatrist immediately.

If you stop your medication before your body has had enough time to adjust, you will have to begin all over again the next time the doctor prescribes the medication. It is a very good idea to write down your feelings and physical reaction while taking the new medication and be sure to let your psychiatrist know about them. The psychiatrist will make adjustments with the medications if necessary.

I know I am not doing well mentally but I don't want to come to Hong Fook for help as others will say that I am crazy. Where else can I get help ?

You may want to first visit with your family doctor. Do not hesitate to talk to him/her about your condition. Several other agencies in your area provide supportive counselling. For information regarding these agencies, you can call us for information or call the 211 Information Line and ask for a referral.

We would like to encourage you to contact us, as we can provide consultation over the phone and you may remain anonymous. However, in order to help us provide better assistance for you, we would prefer you to come to one of our two offices for a face-to-face consultation. Please remember that all services are held in strict confidentiality and that NOT all the people visiting Hong Fook are there because they are experiencing serious mental illness.

I have a friend who is becoming very withdrawn and not paying attention to his personal hygiene lately. How do I know if he is suffering from mental illness or not ?

To avoid labeling anyone, we would recommend that your friend see a psychiatrist for an assessment. Your most important role is to persuade your friend to seek psychiatric attention.

My family member, who suffered from mental illness, is refusing to take medication, as she does not consider herself mentally ill. Her mental situation has been getting worse recently. What can I do ?

You cannot force your family member to go for treatment if she refuses. The Mental Health Act respects the rights of individual, so we cannot force anyone to do what they do not want. However, if your family member refuses treatment and if you believe that to leave her untreated, her deteriorating condition will endanger her life or the life of others, you have several options:

You can make a request for a Qualified Assessor. The Qualified Assessor is licensed by Ministry of Attorney General. He/she will come to your house to assess and certify your family member for the treatment (that is, if your family member meets the conditions of the criteria). There is a service fee charged by the Qualified Assessor;

You can arrange for the family doctor or psychiatrist to see your family member in person, the family doctor or psychiatrist may decide to certify her for treatment using a Form 1

You can apply for a Treatment Order (Form 2) from the Justice of the Peace. This can be obtained at any Ontario Criminal Court House providing you can show evidence to convince the Justice of Peace that the family member is at risk of endangering his/her own life or others' lives. If this is the approach you choose, you can contact the Mental Health Court Support Program office located in the Court House to assist you with all paper work before seeing the Justice of the Peace. It may take several hours to obtain the judgment from the Justice of the Peace.

Whatever method you may choose, as soon as you have the treatment order certificate (FORM 1- from a physician or FORM 2 - from the Justice of Peace), you must serve the Notice to your nearest Police Division within 7 days. The police will then apprehend your family member and bring him/her to the hospital for treatment.

One of my siblings suffers from mental illness. Recently, he became agitated easily and threatened to hurt my parents. My family members are scared, what can we do ?

This question is related to the previous question but is slightly different in terms of the more violent behaviour from the patient. There is a judgment call required by this situation.

By this we mean that you have to decide whether or not the situation is out of control. (If you are not sure, you may speak to our Intake Workers for consultation around this). If the situation is not out of control, you can refer to Question #10 – 3), applying for the Treatment Order from the Justice of Peace. If there is a crisis, which may endanger the patient himself and/or others, call 911 and ask for immediate intervention from the police.

My husband suffered from schizophrenia. We are unable to communicate effectively with the psychiatrist who only speaks English. We want to look for Cantonese speaking psychiatrist. Do you know how to make a referral or an appointment for him ?

We can connect your husband to the Cantonese-speaking psychiatrists across the city or arrange for your husband to visit one of the psychiatrists at our Asian Clinic. Likewise, we also have access to psychiatrists, who speak Mandarin and Vietnamese. Please call the Mental Health Intake Worker for the referral information.

end faq

Scarborough Head Office

  • 3320 Midland Avenue, Suite 201
  • Scarborough, ON, M1V 5E6
  • Tel: (416) 493-4242
  • Fax: (416) 493-2214

North York Branch

  • 1751 Sheppard Avenue East, G/F
  • North York, ON, M2J 0A4
  • Tel: (416) 493-4242
  • Fax: (416) 492-0644

Downtown Branch

  • 130 Dundas Street West, 3rd Floor
  • Toronto, ON, M5G 1C3
  • Tel: (416) 493-4242
  • Fax: (416) 595-6332